On Monday Sudan expanded on its decision to go back on visa-free entry for Egyptian men coming into the country. Sudan had earlier announced the decision that would require Egyptian men aged from 18 to 50 obtain entry visas.
In their explanation on Monday, the country said that its decision was aimed at preventing “terrorists” from infiltrating the country. The decision is a backtrack on an earlier one taken in 2004 which gave visa-free access to all Egyptians.
Friday saw Sudanese authorities singling out adult Egyptian men as a group that would need to obtain visas before entering the country. Egyptian women and children are still allowed to enter without visas. Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour told reporters;
“The decision of imposing visas for Egyptians was taken after consultations between the two countries,”
“It aims to ensure organised entry of citizens in both countries and to prevent terrorist elements from entering.”
In the 2004 deal, Egyptians went visa-free under a deal signed between the two countries in 2004 while Sudanese nationals had to obtain visas for entering Egypt.
Media reports in Sudan say that the decision to stop visa-free travel for Egyptian men may have been triggered after the arrests of several Arab nationals after a blast in an apartment in the capital in February. A man had been wounded in the blast while assembling explosives in the apartment.
Officials have constantly claimed to be stepping up efforts to fight extremism in the region, which is now home to tens of thousands of Syrians. Despite their efforts, however, Washington continues to list Sudan as an alleged state sponsor of terrorism since 1993.
It is a designation that Khartoum has been trying to beat for a while now but flare ups of terrorist activities and violence occur intermittently and deride most efforts.